Litigation: Grandmother denied bid to exhume son's body

A grandmother who wanted her son’s body exhumed so that DNA samples could be taken to prove her theory that he was not the father of two boys, was referred to as a ‘putative grandmother’ by a judge. The Star reports the grandmother has been embroiled in litigation with the deceased’s wife and the administrator of his pension fund for years in a bid for the money to be paid to her. She insisted that paternity tests must be done on the teenage children because she said her son assured her over the years that he was ‘barren’. ‘He had many girlfriends over the years, but he has never produced children,’ she told the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria).

She took the children’s mother, the Department of Defence & Military Veterans – her son’s former employer – and the Government Employees Fund to court. She wanted to halt payments to the widow and her children until paternity tests were done ‘to prove they are not his children’. Her son died in July 2011 while employed by the SANDF, and since then the legal tussle over the pension money has raged. She told Judge Vivian Tlhapi that she would make the arrangements to exhume her son’s body. Tlhapi frowned upon the fact that the grandmother expected DNA to be extracted from her son’s remains. This, the judge said, was because of hearsay evidence that her son was not the biological father. ‘While paternity tests are common, the court is not dealing here with it in the ordinary sense. Here is a grandmother who wants to extract DNA from her dead son, merely to satisfy her own suspicions.’ The judge concluded it was not in the best interests of the children to exhume their father’s remains, simply to satisfy the grandmother.

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